As I type this, I am sitting in the kitchen around 8:30 AM on January 20, Inauguration Day. I am watching C-SPAN’s coverage of the Inauguration Ceremony. Of course, it has not started yet, but they are covering all of the people showing up and the Obamas’ itinerary through Washington. It is very exciting. I still cannot believe that George W Bush is only hours away from unemployment. While I was watching the coverage, I noticed something in the ticker at the bottom on CNN. It said something about the majority of African-Americans believing that Martin Luther King Junior’s vision has been realized. This caused some internal discussion about that assertion.
Before I go further, I should probably be fair and state that I am white, I was born nearly twenty years after King died, and I have never had to face racial discrimination. That said, I think that I should try to make my case about why Dr. King’s vision has not yet been realized. Simply put, his vision was not just one of racial equality for all people, but also economic equality. I believe that those to go hand-in-hand, to some extent. We have a widening income gap in this country, which is one of the things that I hope President Obama will fix. Until that income gap issue is resolved, there are mechanisms in place that can help people lift themselves out of generational poverty, and this country’s education system is vastly improved, I see no real way of fully realizing Dr. King’s dream.
I think that King’s vision of a country that is not divided against itself and where everyone has an equal shot at achieving his or her dream is a very admirable one. However, it is not one that can be easily realized. King was assassinated in 1968, over forty years ago. Granted, we have come a long way since then in the areas of race relations and economic equality. However, I still believe that we still have a way to go.
If you say something is done, you are wrong. There is always room for improvement, especially when it comes to securing economic equality for everyone. It is not a task that will be complete for a long time, if ever.